The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon Gave Me a Sign

You’ve all likely had the experience where you learn about something, encounter a new word or hear some obscure tidbit of information and before you know it, that item seems to pop up all over the place. That is called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon and I have experienced it within the last two weeks.

In conversation, an industry colleague mentioned that he had just returned from a conference where he heard a talk by researcher and storyteller Brené Brown. Despite the fact that more than 21 million people have viewed her TEDTalk The Power of Vulnerability, I had never heard of her.

A week later, we launched our third Business Breakfast season with a keynote by local entrepreneur and Canadian Certified Counsellor Louise Blanchard. The morning’s topic was Boundaries, Balance and Business: The Importance of Self-Care in Staying Motivated.  Louise’s presentation touched on mindfulness, meditation and self-compassion and who should Louise mention during her presentation: Brené Brown!

With a PhD in social work, Dr. Brown has spent the past 10 years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. I wondered about the relevance to business and entrepreneurship but I took the two references as a sign to tune into her talks. Surprisingly, both presentations had powerful take-aways for women in general and even more so for women entrepreneurs.

In the Power of Vulnerability, a quick show of hands from her audience illustrated that many people see vulnerability as a weakness. Brown pointed out that vulnerability is about risk and courage and the result of vulnerability can be creativity, innovation and change; one could argue that these are the very hallmarks of entrepreneurship.

In her subsequent talk Listening to Shame, she pointed out that women are notorious for wanting to “do it all; do it perfectly; and never let them see you sweat”. Oh how often we hear that at the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba. In this presentation, she shared her view of what can happen when we confront shame and how we can turn a negative experience into a positive outcome

It would be impossible to capture the essence of her messages in just a few words so I encourage you to set aside 40 minutes to absorb the power of her vision and translate it in to actions that can take your business, and your life to a higher level.

– Alison Kirkland